I’m often asked how to transform bathrooms that are dark and cramped into light and airy spaces. Oh, and also to make the space look high-end or upscale as well, without breaking the bank. A tall order that seems impossible, but I’ve done it here!
This San Francisco bathroom was drowning in dark, outdated tiling with the toilet, tub, and sink all in tan. While I appreciate the effort from the original installer to color-coordinate everything, it unfortunately hasn’t stood the test of time, as you can see below in these “before” photos I took on-site.
The lonely mirror looked unfinished above a motel-style tiled edge, and the lighting was severely lacking. Those triangle tiles remind me of broken teeth!
What a change in the “after”! To make the room feel bigger, I turned the floor tiles at a 45-degree angle, which visually widens the space and feels more welcoming, and kept the color palette to pale light tones. The angled flooring is repeated in the shower pan in a smaller-scale pattern, the repetition of materials visually elongating the entire bathroom. All the flooring is durable, stain-proof, and maintenance-free porcelain that replicates the look of Calacatta marble.
To create a high-end look, we added a custom detail for the shower niche. We splurged on real Calacatta and blue Celeste marble, and had our custom pattern fabricated just for us. The added bonus of having the marble recessed inside the niche and on a vertical surface means there will be minimal issues with staining.
Another way I opened up and lightened the space was by relocating the toilet where the shower enclosure was previously located. That allowed us to remove all the old shower tile, add a second window for more light, and brighten up the walls with a soft shade of blue.
A favorite custom detail is the stained glass window. The homeowner found a pattern she loved, and we had the stained glass window fabricated for us, installed to the right of the vanity. Custom elements like this and the marble shower niche elevate a simple utilitarian area into a higher-end space that’s unique and sophisticated.
Completing the bathroom with paint in a soft powdery blue color gives enough contrast to the white fixtures and finishes to make the space interesting, while maintaining the serene and airy look.
If you’re due for a bathroom update, and are excited to bring in custom design elements for an upscale space, contact Kimball Starr today!
Kimball Starr Interior Design works with homeowners all across Northern California to create beautiful “afters” of your bathrooms, kitchens, and interior spaces throughout your home!